Top Prospect #16: LHP Nick Bourgeois

Nick Bourgeois may have had a changing point in his career during the 2003 season. As he struggled through his second professional season, he made a start in front of key personnel from the Phillies and used the appearance to start a turn around to his year. After that, Bourgeois seemed to be stronger and more focused, making him yet another young pitcher ranking high in the world of prospects.

Nick Bourgeois came into the season with high hopes. In fact, his hopes were almost as high as the ones that the Phillies had for the young left-hander. In Bourgeois, the Phillies thought they had found a guy who could be at least a middle-of-the-rotation kind of pitcher and in a world where left-handers rule, that was huge!

Everything was going well until the season started. Bourgeois looked good in minor league camp and everything seemed fine. Suddenly, a syndrome that has hit several Phillies young pitchers hit Bourgeois. He was simply throwing too many pitches. It wasn't a constant thing, but there were too many innings where Bourgeois would seem to lose focus and the pitch count would go through the roof. From there, Bourgeois tried to be too fine and to put everybody away with the first pitch he threw to them. That didn't work and before anybody really knew what was happening, Bourgeois was struggling.

Eventually, things got better, but not by any great strides. Bourgeois was throwing better, but his pitch counts were still high. It was tough for the lefty to put away hitters when he fell behind and there was starting to be some degree of concern.

Bourgeois is one of those all-American sort of kids. He's the guy that you would love to have dating your daughter. He's polite. He works hard and is dedicated to his friends and family. Heck, the guy even lives with his Grandparents, how much more likeable can you get? Nick Bourgeois also hates to fail. Since his hatred for failure or anything closely resembling it is so strong, our hero was scuffling not just on the field, but deep inside as well. One other attribute that Bourgeois brings to the table is brains. The kid knew that his world was one where you can fall quickly by the wayside.

Bourgeois admits that he was concerned about his future and that he was even starting to doubt himself a little at times when he took the mound. Little did he or anybody know that Bourgeois would build on a couple of key starts and would soon take a big step toward turning around a season that was supposed to be strong from start to finish. The turnaround actually started at a perfect time when Bourgeois pitched a gem in an August game where many of the Phillies minor league staff were in attendance.

While the main problem of running deep counts and throwing too many pitches was still there, Bourgeois was a stronger pitcher than he had shown all season. He bounced back from full counts to put away hitters. He simply relied on his talent - not to mention a good fastball - to polish off hitters. As Bourgeois' offense struggled, he paid no attention. Bourgeois was a man on a mission.

Even with his pitch count climbing, Bourgeois was hitting the low 90s on the radar gun late into games. In his outing in front of his bosses, Bourgeois would "only" make it through seven innings and 104 pitches. Bourgeois allowed just two hits, no runs and walked just one hitter. The 2002 fourth round pick also whiffed a career high 10 hitters.

Is it possible that one game can completely turn around the thoughts of both Bourgeois and the Phillies minor league people? In this case, it was one game that Bourgeois used to build a comeback on. Bourgeois is a definite prospect. He has struggled and has bent, but has never broken.

 Nick Bourgeois Career Stats

Year/Team

W

L

ERA

SV

G

GS

IP

H/9 IP

BB/9 IP

KO/9 IP

2002 Batavia (Rookie)

0

3

5.40

0

5

6

18.1

6.4

7.9

8.4

2003 Lakewood (Low A)

7

10

4.42

1

26

24

110.0

7.5

5.1

8.8

Career Minor League Stats

7

13

4.55

1

31

30

128.1

7.4

5.5

8.8

 

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